Travel and Tourism Updates

Tourism Action Plan

A Government Tourism Action Plan was published in late August alongside the announcement of the successful Discover England Fund projects.
The following initiatives were announced:
•    Permitting a flexible apprenticeship scheme that allows training to be completed over 16 to 18 months rather than 12.
•    Simplifying regulation by changing licensing to allow B&Bs to offer a welcome drink, and modifying vehicle licensing to allow B&B owners to pick up visitors from train stations.
•    Modernising and digitising the retail export scheme to make it easier for tourists to claim back VAT on eligible purchases.

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Inquiry on Rural Tourism

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has announced that it is holding an inquiry into Rural Tourism. The inquiry will focus on how the Government can support the growth of the rural economy through tourism and will be aimed at determining how more tourists from the UK and abroad can be encouraged to visit more of England’s rural places for longer and at all times of the year. It will also consider how the needs of visitors can be balanced with the need to preserve the environment and to enhance local character. Infrastructure needs and changes to planning and other regulations to allow
sustainable tourism will be reviewed. Information and evidence should be submitted to the committee by September 6th.

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Lowcostholidays Failure

Lowcostholidays went into administration in July and this is a reminder to GTOs to ensure that they book their holidays for their groups through ABTA registered agents and through the ATOL schemes as these give reassurances and protections when things go wrong. When companies like Lowcostholidays, who are not part of the scheme, go into administration it has a huge impact on the customers that are let down.

India Visa Report

A new report published by the ROyal Commonwealth Society in partnership with leading aviation and tourism groups recommends that India is added to the UK’s latest £87 two-year visa scheme. The reform would help to reverse a fall in the UK’s market share of Indian tourists, a sector that has halved over the last decade. France now receives more visitors from India despite the UK’s multitude of historic, cultural, sporting and family connections. ‘It would be opportune to implement this change as soon as is feasible,’ says Kurt Janson, Director of the Tourism Alliance, ‘since 2017 is the official UK-India Year of Culture, which celebrates 70 years of Indian Independence.’